Barking & Dagenham girls see off St Albans to extend streak
- Credit: BDSFA
Barking & Dagenham's district girls' squad stretched their unbeaten run in the London Girls' League to 26 games as a 4-1 win over St Albans maintained their perfect start this season.
Aysia Matabaro's third hat-trick in as many games led the way, as Marcheri Sherrif's second-half penalty sealed the points.
St Albans broke in the fourth minute, first hitting the bar, then the post, either side of a crucial block from keeper Dalia Wyszczelska.
There followed a prolonged period of frustration for the hosts but striker Matabaro was a constant threat, at the heart of everything that Barking & Dagenham were able to create.
First, she combined with Rehema Okungu to play in Eva Young, whose early snapshot was shuffled behind for a corner by the keeper.
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Then, in the 10th minute, Matabaro latched onto a clearance from Sherrif to manufacture attempts for herself and Young once again.
She was denied in the 13th minute by the keeper after bursting clear from halfway line and turned provider when Tobe Edoka's goalbound effort was blocked from Matabaro’s half-cleared corner.
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But in the 21st minute, the Roding forward provided the breakthrough, stealing in when Sherrif’s long-throw from the left bobbled around in the box.
And it was 2-0 minutes later in identical fashion, giving Barking & Dagenham a fortunate lead going into the break.
The pattern of the game continued in the second half, with the home side relying upon the pace of Matabaro at one end, and the ever-dependable Sherrif at the other.
It was no surprise when St Albans got themselves back in the game soon after the restart, after loose marking in the home penalty area and they piled on the pressure for the next 10 minutes or so.
Wyszczelska’s immaculate handling helping to keep the advantage in her side’s favour and Matabaro had an effort well saved, before Young again went close from distance.
Matabaro then saw a shot tipped onto the post before another fierce drive cannoned wide off the beaten keeper’s back leg.
But from the corner taken by Matabaro, a handball in the box provided an opportunity to settle the nerves and skipper Sherrif made no mistake from the spot, stroking into the bottom corner.
With six minutes to go, the tie was put beyond doubt when Sherrif returned the favour, smashing a goal-kick down the centre of the pitch for Matabaro to race onto for the hat-trick her individual display deserved.
After late chances or Rihanna Zaman and Rehema Okungu, Barking & Dagenham know a win in their final game against Woking will see them crowned champions for a third straight season.
Before that they face the Southern Counties Cup final against Woking at Oxford City on Saturday (June 12, 11.30am).
Barking & Dagenham: Tobechukwu Edoka (George Carey), Gracie Jones (Grafton), Aysia Matabaro (Roding), Rehema Okungu (George Carey), Chi-Chi Musa-Onyeka (St Peters), Marcheri Sheriff (Grafton), Dalia Wyszczelska (Hunters Hall), Eva Young (Hunters Hall), Rihanna Zaman (Hunters Hall).